Monday, November 14, 2011

Apple Pie Bars (vegan)

Thanksgiving is just days away and I am thinking about pie. I was thinking about the turkey as well, and the stuffing...but the pie, that is what I can't get off my mind. Who doesn't love the fresh pumpkin pie, and yet I have so many fresh apples this time of year too. Should we make both pumpkin and apple?
Hmmm, yes, I think we should. But, could we really eat a slice of both?! Even after the fabulous dinner? Who am I kidding?! Ok, ok, it is Thanksgiving after all...

What a dilemma. In a good way, of course. The dilemma alone is something to be thankful for! To have an abundance of fresh apples and pumpkins, plus the ability to make a gluten-free vegan homemade treat from a warm and cozy kitchen. Very, very thankful for the abundance of food and pleasures that we are able to have. Much to be thankful for, and much to share.

So, what if hypothetically... let's just say...we made both. But one was a bar, and the other a real pie.

Ok, ok, I can deal with that. And, superficially, it makes me feel less of a glutton. One piece of pie, and one bar...:)
It doesn't really matter (really!) because you are still eating both, but for the sake of appearances :)

The apple pie bars add variety and they are pretty cute as well. I have been thinking up this creation for a while. Especially since I love apple pie so much, but sometimes, you really don't want (or need) a whole slice of pie. Apple crisp is yummy as well, but sometimes it's hard to portion-control when you feel like you are eating oatmeal. So a cootsie-cut-up apple pie bar might just be a fun way to get the best of both worlds. Plus, these turned out to be melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Apple Pie Bars Recipe (vegan)

1 cup of Bob's Red Mill gluten-free baking blend (or other GF blend)
2/3 cup of millet flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
2 TB of sucanat
dash of sea salt
4 TB of organic coconut oil
2-3 TB of pure water

Mix the above ingredients in a small bowl, except for the water. After you have mixed the flour and oil you will have pea-shaped flour blend, then add 2 TB of water to get a doughy crumble-like pie crust. You may need to add another TB of water depending on how dry it is. Then, crumble the dough on the bottom of a 9x13 pan and press down with your hands and fingers to make a "pie crust" It doesn't have to be perfect, but if you want to use the bottom of a cup or measuring cup to smooth out and even out the crust, that works great. Then, put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown, but not overly baked. Par-baked. While baking, make your apple fulling... 

5-6 cups of finely chopped apple pieces ( I used 7 small empire apples)
1 TB of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup of tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
1/4 - 1/3 cup of maple syrup or coconut palm sugar
juice of one lemon
3 TB of pure water, or apple juice

I leave the skins on my apples because I like skins, but if you want to peal, that is fine too. Basically, fine chop your apples into small pieces, then in a medium bowl mix the apple pieces with your lemon juice, water, sweetener and flour and cinnamon. You make a nice coating of spice and flour over all of your apples. Mix well to make sure it is evenly coated. Let sit while you pull the crust from the oven and let cool just a bit. Then, when the crust is par-baked and slightly cooled, pour the apple filling over the crust in the 9x13 pan.
Then, lastly, you are ready to make the topping...

1 1/2 cup of gluten-free rolled oats ( I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup of Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup of millet flour
1 cup of coconut palm sugar
dash of sea salt
1/2 cup of organic coconut oil
2-3 TB of pure water

Mix the oats, flour, salt and then mix in the oil. Lastly add the water to bind and make a crumble-like mix. Start with 2 TB of water, add  1 more if you need it to be more crumbly or wet. Then crumble the topping over the apple filling and press down firmly with a spoon or spatula (I used my hands too!) Make a firm and packed looking top and don't be afraid to press down to pack it all in together.

Then, put back in the 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Bake until you can see the apples bubbling. Then pull from the oven and let cool at least 1 hour, but 2 would be better. Cut squares, 4x5 bars in a 9x 13 pan. Use a fork or spatula to serve to be able to get under the pie crust and serve out like a bar. You can use your hands or a fork to eat. It will still be a bit messy and crumbly like a pie or crisp, but you have more control over it because you cut the squares. You can serve slightly warm or cold. 
No need for ice cream, unless you want it. They can be cut and serve on a nice platter to make it easy to pick up and put on a plate. Good for dessert, but could also be a nice party-food for a group or an appetizer.
I even had some friends be my guinea-pigs on this treat, and they also liked it. So, just don't take my word alone, even though I am my harshest food-critic. Plus they surprised me and even tasted better the next day. Just look at the apple pie goodness...
So, you may be thinking about your gluten-free Thanksgiving menu as well. I am gathering my menu together, and I am planning on sharing it with you in one of my next posts. I will share what I am making, my recipes, and even some of my other favorite links to my favorite turkey brine and roasting tips. I buy my turkey from a local farm, which I think only adds to the amazing-ness to the dinner and follows my values of eating local, farm (not factory) raised meat. More info to come in my future post...
But for now... You can bet this apple pie bar will make an appearance on my Thanksgiving menu. It turned out just as I had hoped and it will be a great addition to the fall-seasonal dinner and dessert menu.

I hope you find yourself planning with excitement and no anxiety this holiday season. Make your gluten-free menu fun and full of the foods you love. Lots of seasonal veggies and fruits, and may you have the spirit of anticipation instead of dread!

Much love to you as always!


  1. Thanks for the recipe! I tried it out a modified version (no sugar or flour in the apples) and while the taste was great, the topping part didn't get crispy. It was kind of soft and solid - like an oat bar. Any idea what I might have done wrong?

    1. You might want to mix the wet and dry ingredients first, without the oils, then after blending the wet and try, add the oil with a fork or your hands, almost like a pie crust. Sometimes if you mix too much too the mix will turn into a solid more than a crumble. Hope that helps! Thanks for the comment.